Defending yourself against multiple attackers
Defending yourself against multiple attackers is a serious problem. If you have to defend yourself against multiple attackers, the odds are in favor of it being more then just two attackers. Something to keep in mind is that attacks involving multiple attackers are more likely to result in serious injury and/or death. This may be due to the pack mentality.
Before things escalate into a actual physical conflict, there are other things that you could do, or consider as an option first.
Number one don’t put yourself in the situation in the first place. I consider avoidance to be the higher level skill. So stay out of places where trouble is common. If you have to walk through questionable places, and you see a group of people gathered on the sidewalk, cross the street and avoid them. Never walk through the middle of the group.
If however you couldn’t avoid being confronted there are psychological/verbal responses to consider using before a physical confrontation.
Whether you know the group you have to deal with, or don’t you may be able to reason with them and talk them out of a confrontation. There is generally a leader, and if there isn’t you can help them elect one by directing you conversation to one of them. Once you know who the leader is you can try to convince them to make it a one-on-one fight (presuming you couldn’t talk them out of a fight). You can do this by calling their leaders manhood/ honor in question, and suggesting that they should be able to handle you one-on-one unless the leader(person your talking to) is a coward. Try to get the gang to buy into it. If that doesn’t work you can tell the leader that no matter what happens your going to get him first. This my cause a weaker minded person to have self doubt, and maybe back off. At least cause them a hesitation.
While I’ve successfully used the above methods on many occasions, I’ve also found a percentage of groups aren’t distracted by such ploys. Especially those with trained members, and/or a lot of experience. If you’re dealing with people with intent that know what they are doing, using the above methods could possibly provide a warning that you will defend yourself. Which could take away your ability to launch a surprise first strike.
My approach to training is that you should always train for the worst case scenario. In other words “prepare for the worst, and hope for the best”. So to me that means that you need to know how a trained group of attackers will approach the situation. In order to train a realistic defense.
When two attack one person they should approach together, then spread out until they are on opposite sides of the person they are attacking. The idea is to force the defender to face one, while exposing his back to the other. Working as a team one should attack low while the other attacks high. They can either use a signal, or the person to the defenders back should attack the legs. Of course with more attackers you end up circling the defender. Under no circumstances should they attack one at a time. The whole idea is to work as a team.
With with the above in mind, you need to do everything possible to keep from getting flanked or surrounded. Take advantage of your surroundings. Use a building, sign, car, or anything else you can to put your back too. If you’re in doors, you might be able to use doorway or hallway to limit the attackers ability to flank you. Make sure you don’t put yourself in a corner. You need to always have an escape route.
Proper use of peripheral vision, mobility, knowing when to hit, and positioning are extremely important in this or any situation. Please see my earlier posts when to move, eye training, and positioning.
A concept that you need to think of when working against multiple attackers is the idea of stacking your attackers.
The idea is to fight them one at a time by positioning the attacker your dealing with between you and the others until he is done, then you move on to the next. Visualize staking them in the same way airplanes get stacked up waiting for their turn to use the runway. The best place to be is at the back of the person you’re engaged with so you can finish them, and they can’t harm you. So get behind them or turn them if possible. Obviously mobility is key here, because you will have to keep moving in order to maintain proper positioning (with your attackers stacked) since the other attackers will be trying to flank you to attack.
In closing I want to repeat one last time, that defending yourself against multiple attackers is a very dangerous, and risky thing to do. If there is anyway of avoiding it, or escaping altogether, choose that option.